Communication: Decoding Each Other
Wisdom is Knowing the Importance of Clear Communication When Forming Healthy Relationships.
Lack of communication or miscommunication is a tool of the devil to cause division, hurt feelings, trust issues, and unnecessary heartache.
Have you ever been around a person that you offended when you didn’t mean to….as if they lived by some unwritten code that you weren’t privy to? People are raised with different perspectives, rules of engagement among family members, and ideas about how others should or shouldn’t behave. Often misunderstandings occur because of these differences. Without good communication, neutral behaviors can be wrongly interpreted by others and cause them to think the wrong thing, or take offense to something not meant to cause offence.
Ex 1: A mother-in-law doesn’t understand why her daughter-in-law from out of town doesn’t just make herself at home when she visits, and use her kitchen to cook meals in. She begins to think that she is being taken advantage of, and wrongfully expected to do all the cooking, even though the daughter-in-law always offers to help and takes part in the after meal clean-ups.
Reality: The daughter-in-law isn’t around the mother-in-law enough to understand this unspoken code and expectation, and was actually raised that you don’t touch other people’s things or just make yourself at home without being asked or getting permission. She views the kitchen as the sacred domain of the person it belongs to.
Flip side: When the mother-in-law visits and just takes over the daughter-in-law’s kitchen, including rummaging through everything to find what she needs and not putting things back where they typically go, the daughter-in-law thinks the mother-in-law is being intrusive and overbearing.
How was this resolved: By the mother-in-law finally expressing her belief system to the daughter-in-law and allowing her to gain an understanding she would never have figured out on her own. How long did this take to occur…..decades.
Ex 2: A boyfriend is wanting to sell an electronic device and his girlfriend wants it. She offers to pay the asking price. The boyfriend says she can just have it and refuses to take the money for it. Months later, the girlfriend wants to upgrade to a different electronic device and decides to sell the one her boyfriend insisted she take, and plans to use the money toward the upgraded version. The boyfriend becomes offended and tries to stuff the feelings of resentment that he feels because she didn’t give it back for him to sell.
Reality: The boyfriend is raised with the unspoken code that you don’t take money from family (or girlfriends). You just give them things instead of making a sale transaction. If the person no longer wants the item, however, they are expected to know that the original owner wants it back. The girlfriend thinks that the “gift” item comes with no strings attached, especially since she offered to pay for it. She fails to pick up on the subtle hints the boyfriend makes about wanting the money for it, and thinks he is just kidding.
How was this resolved: The boyfriend finally communicated the resentment growing and the two talked out the differences in how they were raised. The girlfriend decided that since the boyfriend would not take money for things he had that she wanted, she would just buy the same item used from someone else. How long did this take to occur…..weeks.
“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus.”
Communication is vital. As a Christian, we should give grace to those who offend us, and not assume that they meant to offend us. We should take the first step of opening communication ( respectfully and with kind intentions) to explore if the person meant to offend or just has a different view or belief. We should communicate terms that we attach to things we offer, or help with. Most importantly we should communicate our values and boundaries so that others have opportunity to assess how to build a healthy relationship with us. We should consider their values and boundaries as well. Many relationships require give and take. True friendships and healthy relationships can work through these differences, and find neutral ground to build upon. God’s word teaches us to work through our differences and honor him in how we treat others. How can we work through differences, if they remain unspoken codes that are never put on the table for discussion?
PRAYER FOR YOU: May God give you discernment and patience in dealing with the complexities of relationship building. May you be proactive in communicating to others to decrease misunderstandings and unnecessary conflicts. May you be receptive to the communication of others who seek to work through differences and build healthy relationships with you.
The Nature Of A Misunderstanding http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/the_nature_of_a_misunderstanding
Preventing Misunderstandings In Key Relationships http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mim-abbey/preventing-misunderstandi_b_565472.html